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This time, two of the three major unions, ACOD and VSOA, are participating in the strike, while ACV Transcom has decided to stay away.

The announcement of a new 48-hour strike at the railways shows that there are still tense relations between the railway unions and the management of the NMBS. At the beginning of December, train passengers will again be confronted with a strike on the railways. 

The legal employer of rail employees, HR Rail, has confirmed that two of the three major rail unions, the socialist ACOD and the liberal VSOA, are going ahead with their plans for a 48-hour strike. This strike will start on December 5 at 22.00 p.m., despite new concessions from the employer. The Christian union ACV Transcom has decided not to participate in this strike action.

The strike is a response to long-standing tensions between the unions and the management of the NMBS, mainly due to planned internal reorganizations. One of the main points of disagreement is the proposal to halve the start-up time of train conductors to 10 minutes, something that is strongly criticized by the unions.

Günther Blauwens of ACOD Spoor emphasizes the importance of this action: “We are not fighting for higher wages or more premiums. Our goal is better services for travelers and decent working conditions for our staff.”

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Photo: travelers again affected by strike

Günther Blauwens, chairman of ACOD Spoor, emphasizes that the strike is not about wage demands, but about better services and working conditions. According to Blauwens, improving service is impossible if savings are made on the staff responsible for these services.

Koen De Mey, chairman of ACV-Transcom, explains that his union has chosen to give the consultation another chance and has therefore proposed calling in a social mediator. However, this proposal was only supported by one union.

The management of NMBS has expressed its dissatisfaction with the ongoing strike actions. “These strikes are completely irresponsible and unacceptable, especially given the impact on our passengers,” an HR Rail spokesperson said. This statement reflects growing employer frustration with the ongoing disruptions.

The previous 48-hour strike in November, in which all three major unions participated, already had a significant impact on train traffic. With this new strike on the horizon, it is likely that travelers will once again be confronted with significant disruptions. HR Rail has called the strike “completely irresponsible and unacceptable”, especially in view of the consequences for train passengers. The strike will likely lead to an alternative timetable, similar to that during the previous 48-hour strike in early November.

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